Watermelon Flavor Insight

September 13, 2019
Flavor Summer Trends
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LIFE Magazine calls it one of the most memorable flavors in American life. Not only is watermelon ingrained in the lives of so many – the flavor has also been featured in 986 global new product introductions in the past two years. From grilled watermelon to sprouted seeds to flavored pre-workout, this versatile flavor is appearing in a variety of products and menu items. Let’s take a look at the taste of watermelon, and see if there’s opportunity here for your product development.

Watermelon Overview

Check out FONA’s social listening analysis on watermelon, covering the previous three years. Watermelon enjoys 68% positivity on social media.
  • 24 mentions per minute
  • 53% female - key consumer voice
  • Popular hashtags: #fruit #dessert #icecream #gourmet

Key consumer interests

    1. Food & Drink
    2. Desserts & Baking
    3. Pop Culture

Purchase Intent

More than twice the number of consumers said they’d possibly purchase watermelon-flavored products than other fruit-flavored products. Compared to pineapple and lime flavors, watermelon is a rated higher for the attributes of unique, fun, indulgent, exciting and refreshing.


On Cookpad.com, 1,129 recipes appear when you search for watermelon. Recipes include dishes and other items such as watermelon popsicles, watermelon salad with ingredients varying from feta cheese to arugula and red pepper flakes, toasted watermelon seeds, grilled watermelon and watermelon salsa.

Watermelon on Top

The July 2019 edition of Family Circle features an article about how you can spice up your traditional watermelon, literally. The recipes include seasoning combinations such as; smoked paprika and Hawaiian black sea salt, ricotta cheese and Aleppo black pepper flakes and basil with EVOO, and spicy honey and chopped pistachios. It also provides some tips on how to properly choose and store your watermelon such as choosing fruits based on a dark green color rather than size and to look for a yellow “field spot” to determine sweetness.

Watermelon on the Menu: Q1 2018-Q1 2019

726 Watermelon mentions on the menu

Casual dining is the top segment, with beverage as the top three menu sections accounting for 86% of all watermelon-flavored menu items.

Asian Pork Burgers with Minted Watermelon display the versatility of the typically sweet ingredient. The watermelon is sliced and tossed with cucumbers in mint, lime juice, canola oil, salt and pepper to make a flavorful side dish.

Watermelon Steak is served at The Ducks Eatery in NYC's East Village. This dish looks like a delicious, juicy roast, however it is actually a cooked watermelon. To give the outer appearance of a steak, the watermelon is brined in salt, ash and spices then smoked for eight hours before being carved up tableside.

Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers with Mint and Lime is a specialty item that can be modified to fit your personal taste. This is also offered as a relish for sausages or a grilled chicken sandwich or as the dressing for a green or pasta salad.

Watermelon Global New Product Introductions: 2017-19 

986 product introductions featuring watermelon

Global Fast Facts

  • Asia Pacific is the top global region for watermelon new product introductions.
  • Pastilles, Gums & Chews are the top subcategory globally for watermelon flavored new products.
  • Strawberry is the top flavor paired with watermelon.

Top Watermelon Global Product Categories

  1. Sugar and Gum Confectionery
  2. Juice Drinks
  3. Other Beverages
  4. Desserts & Ice Cream
  5. Water

Products of Note

Strawberry, Watermelon and Basil Frozen Bars: This “100% natural” and kosher product is made with real fruit and free from gluten, dairy, colorants, gums and refined sugar. It is also vegan and retails in a 6 pack. |UK

Sprouted Watermelon Seeds with Celtic Sea Salt:This product from Freeland Foods is marketed under the Go Raw brand. Said to be an excellent source of protein, a good source of iron, magnesium, and other nutrients and free from cholesterol. | Argentina

Ryse Pre-Workout Dietary Supplement with Candy Watermelon Flavor: This product is a flavored drink powder that is said to increase pump, energy and strength. The product contains caffeine, CarnoSyn and citrulline malate. | Australia
  • Purchase intent: 8% of consumers polled said that they would likely or definitely would buy this product, significantly under performing its subcategory.

Watermelon North America New Product Introductions: 2017-2019

228 product introductions featuring watermelon.

North America Fast Facts

  • USA accounts for 23% of all watermelon flavored new product introductions.
  • Pastilles, Gums & Chews are the top product sub-category in North America for watermelon flavored new products.
  • Strawberry is the top flavor paired with watermelon in North America.

Top 5 North American Watermelon Product Categories

  1. Sugar and Gum Confectionery
  2. Juice Drinks
  3. Alcoholic Beverages
  4. Water
  5. Other Beverages

Products of Note

Gaharo Coffee Beans: This product is from the Ritual Coffee Company and is a specialized product inspired by Burundi, East Africa. It is made with feature notes of watermelon, grapefruit and papaya. It retails in a biodegradable package. |USA
  • 12% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, under performing against subcategory.

Watermelon Flavored Sour Snacks: Sun-Maid Watermelon Flavored Sour Raisin Snacks are made with whole fruit golden raisins and contain no added sugar, GMOs, artificial flavors or synthetic colors. They are described as a naturally flavored product that offers a taste that kids love. |USA
  • 24% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, under performing against subcategory.

Watermelon Sparkling Water: This PepsiCo product is sold under the Bubly brand and was available for the summer only. It is a zero calorie product without any added sugars.
  • 37% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, outperforming against subcategory.

The Takeaways

The popularity is clear, but does that mean it’s right for your product? Purchase intent shows that consumers view watermelon flavor as more unique, fun, indulgent, exciting and refreshing. When trying a new product, customers are almost 2 times more likely to choose a watermelon flavored product compared to any other fruit flavor. Watermelon might feel like a known entity -- but that may mean it is the perfect flavor to combine with an exotic or unusual taste, pushing the boundaries for an innovative product.

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You deserve more. Let’s get started.

What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.

From concept to manufacturing, we’re here for you — every step of the way. Contact our sales service department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or contact us at www.fona.com/contact-fona

Sources in full report